The abatement agreement relates to a proposed Alight facility on New Trails Drive. The new development would include a 180,000-square-foot office building and 115,000-square-foot parking garage and is estimated to retain more than 900 local jobs over the next decade.
With two of the present township board members recusing themselves from the abatement vote, citing conflicts of interest, the agreement passed 3-1 at the Thursday evening board meeting. Township Director John McMullan was the lone dissenting vote, while Directors Ann Snyder, Brian Boniface and Carol Stromatt voted in favor.
The taxation agreement would run for 10 years and apply to the value of the Alight property in excess of its $3.45 million base year value. The proposed abatement would total 100% over the first seven years of the agreement, running from 2020-26, then drop to 80% in 2027, 60% in 2028 and 40% in 2029 before expiring.
Prior to casting his vote in opposition to the abatement, McMullan said he believes The Woodlands Township should attempt to collect as many tax dollars as possible given the estimated costs associated with its potential incorporation in the coming years. He also said the community’s growing business environment no longer necessitates granting tax breaks to attract or retain companies in the area.
“We have reached the point where these incentives are no longer needed in a community like The Woodlands,” he said.
Ahead of the vote on the tax agreement, the proposed Alight facility generated pushback from residents near the development site who said it would extend too close to their homes and affect the wooded environment of the Founders Reserve neighborhood.
“The new development does come up into these residents’ homes, and if I lived there, I would be upset,” Snyder said before the vote. She added that after recently meeting with residents and members of the development company, several of the residents’ requests related to the site’s development may be realized.
“I spoke with several people at the development company, and they felt that this could be accomplished,” Snyder said.
The adjustments include building a fence structure to separate the office and parking area from homes and yards, reforesting some of the area that had been cleared for development, and increasing the distance between Alight’s lot and residents’ properties.